Jovic’s goal was not enough to secure a win for Eintracht Frankfurt, who now have a tough task ahead of them, as they will need to overcome Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on May 9th.
After almost being knocked out of the competition by Benfica, Eintracht Frankfurt once again managed to overcome their opponents and got themselves into the semi-finals of Europa League, where they got paired with the English giants, Chelsea. Despite playing against a big club, who have made a name for themselves in the world of football, Eintracht Frankfurt approached the first leg of semi-finals like any other fixture leading to this point; fearless.
Boasting one of the best young players in the world, Luka Jovic, Eintracht Frankfurt felt no fear prior to one of the most important fixtures in the clubs history, however, that was not enough to secure a win for the German side. While it was the visiting side, who were considered to be the favourites to win the 1st leg, Eintracht Frankfurt stepped on the pitch determined to prove their worth, which they did, with a dominant performance for the first 20 minutes.
With a great performance in the first half of the first 45 minutes, Eintracht Frankfurt managed to convert one of their chances into a goal, which was scored by no other than Luka Jovic in the 23rd minute. With one goal advantage and promising show in the opening minutes, we expected Eintracht Frankfurt to extend their lead in the minutes to come, but that was not the case. Once Chelsea conceded the goal, they seemingly woke up from their slumber and took over the reins of the match. After numerous unsuccessful attempts, Chelsea managed to squeeze a goal in just before the 1st half of the match ended, which equalized the match and gave them a fighting chance to overcome Eintracht Frankfurt in the 2nd half.
In contrast to the 1st half, the 2nd half was in Chelsea’s hands. The Blues held on to the ball for 69% of the time, produced 9 goal attempts and 4 shots on goal. Eintracht Frankfurt on the other side had 31% ball possession, 2 goal attempts and no shots on goal. Despite the dominant show from Chelsea, they failed to score the 2nd goal, which left Sarri frustrated after the match. When asked if he was pleased with the match, he answered in his own style:
“I’m happy with the performance, but not with the result.”
He continued talking about how his men needed 25 minutes to wake up and started playing to win instead of holding on to the draw, which is what it seemed like they were trying to achieve in the opening minutes. Nonetheless, Chelsea played extremely good in the last minutes of the 1st half and last 30-20 minutes of the match, however, that was not enough for them to score a goal and get themselves a lead prior to the 2nd leg at Stamford Bridge.
While ending the away leg 1:1 is a decent result for any team, Sarri and his men are far from safety. Eintracht Frankfurt proved before they can be as deadly in away games as they are at home. Sarri is well aware of that, as he has stated the only way to defeat Eintracht Frankfurt is to pressure them and avoid counterattacks, which proved to be a deadly weapon the German side utilized numerous times before.
Will Chelsea reach the finals of Europa League after 6 years will be clear on May 9th, when we will see Eintracht Frankfurt visiting “The Bridge”. Holding an away goal lead will put Chelsea in a better spot, however, with a potent attack Eintracht Frankfurt has and the danger they possess in set pieces as well as counterattacks, Chelsea and their appearance in the finals of Europa League is far from a sure thing.